Loss of Consortium Parent Child In Kentucky
In Giuliani v. Guiler, Ky., 951 S.W.2d 318 (1997), the Kentucky Supreme Court recognized loss of parental consortium claims by minor children.
The Court further held that recovery under a wrongful death claim is generally limited to economic loss, and explained that loss of consortium is a wholly separate cause of action from wrongful death. Id. at 322.
The appellants contend that this Court should take the next step and recognize a claim for loss of parental consortium on behalf of adult children.
The appellees first respond that such a step is beyond the authority of the Court of Appeals. They assert that the decision in Giuliani v. Guiler precludes this Court from considering whether Kentucky recognizes a claim for loss of parental consortium by adult children. We do not agree.
Of course, as an intermediate appellate court, this Court is bound by established precedents of the Kentucky Supreme Court. SCR 1.030(8)(a). the Court of Appeals cannot overrule the established precedent set by the Supreme Court or its predecessor court. Special Fund v. Francis, Ky., 708 S.W.2d 641, 642 (1986).
However, this rule does not prevent an intermediate appellate court from considering the viability of a cause of action where the issue has not been definitively resolved by the Supreme Court. See Oakley v. Flor-Shin, Inc., Ky. App., 964 S.W.2d 438 (1998).
In Giuliani v. Guiler, supra, the Kentucky Supreme Court recognized loss of parental consortium claims by minor children.
The appellees contend that the Giuliani court considered and rejected the possibility of extending the new cause of action for loss of parental consortium to adult children. However, nothing in the Giuliani opinion addresses that issue, and that matter was not before the Court.
Courts are not authorized to give advisory opinions on issues unless there is an actual case in controversy. Philpot v. Patton, Ky., 837 S.W.2d 491, 493 (1992).
Therefore, we find that the Supreme Court's holding was limited to the issue before it.
Since Giuliani v. Guiler is silent regarding the viability of claims for loss of parental consortium brought by adult children and there is no other controlling Kentucky authority, we find that this Court is authorized to consider the matter as an issue of first impression.